In My Book, It’s About Winning


Indeed it’s sad when a good warrior and captain such as Saku Koivu is finished as a Montreal Canadien and will carry on elsewhere. We all loved and appreciated what he did for the team and city as a great player and a man who gave his time and money to hospitals and sick kids and other organizations.

But I have to take a hard-nosed approach here. Except when I was a kid and idolized the Rocket and Harvey and Beliveau and the rest, I’ve always gone for the bottom line, which is winning. I got used to hockey being strictly a business a long time ago, and realized that seldom will you see anyone remain with one club for an entire career. Players come and go, and that’s fine. The main thing is the team. A winning team. And if the team wins, you’ll love the new players.

You can criticize Bob Gainey all you want for landing small, skilled players, and for not re-signing others. But you would’ve been even more upset if Gainey had sat still and changed very little. Did you like the team last year? I didn’t. They barely made the playoffs, and were quickly and embarrassingly shoved aside by the Boston Bruins. Montreal was not a team to scare anyone, and changes, even unpopular ones, were crucial.

Do you know exactly what has transpired behind the scenes? Was there a divided dressing room, as we heard from time to time? Did Koivu actually want out of Montreal, possibly to join his brother in Minnesota? And I know you’ll wince on this one, but Koivu, in the last year or two, became quite mediocre on the ice, and good man or not, he wasn’t helping the team a great deal.

It’s all about winning. It’s the team as a whole. If the Canadiens can win the Stanley Cup with twenty guys like Sean Avery or Jarkko Ruutu for example,  then I’m happy. This club was going nowhere fast, once again. And going nowhere every year gets old. Aren’t you tired of that?

I want a great team back, so if Koivu or Alex Kovalev or anyone else isn’t re-signed and is an unpopular decision, then so be it. It’s time for a big change. Time to try something different.

11 thoughts on “In My Book, It’s About Winning”

  1. I am actually very curious to see how this new version of “our” team does. How they will play under Martin. How well will the new guys play? Was the Hal Gill we saw in the cup final an illusion or will he become our newest Breezer? Will the Kostitsyns return to form? Plekanec? Price? Lots and lots of questions people at least we have a season to look forward to and a reason to hope.

  2. I know it’s cold of me but c’est la vie. My love for these players is well known and will never change so wherever they may land, long may they run. Just…not the Leafs/Bruins please (Komisauruuuuuus). Actually I heard Dandenault turned down an offer from the Bruins. Whether out of principle or he’s buzzing Bob for that backup Dman job or the contract sucked or he just doesn’t want to be under Claude Julien again is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t mind to see him back.

    Keep the faith. Ya gotta have faith. Oh man… you have no idea how many times I yelled at people at the Bell Center for their digusting lack of faith for next year. Every season starts at zero, people!

  3. I’ve got mixed opinions about this “it’s all about winning” philosophy.

    As a Hab fan I’m happy when they win and upset when they lose. But as a hockey fan it’s frustrating watching no-class players like Avery and Ruutu behaving like morons. I’d rather not have to pick between watching great exciting games in which Montreal loses or Montreal winning games that I don’t care to watch.

    Although I’ve accepted that there is much less loyalty between players and teams (on both sides) than when I was younger, it also leads to my disinterest. Regretfully Kovalev and even Koivu may need to go, but I’d like to see the rest back at reasonable salaries for their expected contributions.

  4. I woke up this morning with a new mindset. I agree with number31, I still have my favorites, hell I still have my ongoing lovefest with Souray. At the end of the day it’s all about winning and it’s all about team, not individuals. I want to win games and I certainly could not have stood another season like last year. So bring it on boys, lets see what you can do.

  5. Good for you. And if the Habs can go deep, we’ll have lots of favourite players. Winning creates favourite players. Have a great day.

  6. The Kostitsyn’s and Price – wow, if they can play better, the team’s a whole lot better, that’s for sure.

  7. I know Avery and Ruutu are harsh examples, but you know what I mean. Winning big means having favourite players come along. It hurts when you have favourite pplayers and the team stinks. I really like two points at the end of the game.

  8. Personally, I think it was time for big change.

    Koivu and Kovalev were 2 of my favorite Habs for their tenure…

    I will honestly miss Koivu and Kovalev. Koivu, in my opinion, gave his all, sometimes despite being treated terribly by some media in montreal.

    Something needs to be said about our 2 last seasons and some of the comments being made about our new core players.

    Last 2 seasons, we had the exact same core of players, except Tanguay and Lang (basically)… Lang’s contribution last year was basically the glue that held it together… and he went down… disaster. At least…Coincidence? Maybe.

    2 years ago…. 1st place in the east.. those players displayed incredible puck possession skill… in an injury free year.

    Last year… 8th place in the east… the team tanked like a sinking ship… at about the time Lang got hurt… glimpse of the puck moving skill… but mostly utter frustration and lack luster play in an injury plagued season.

    Many, many variables go into a team’s performance. Dressing room clicks?? Constant injuries affecting their heads?? (confidence..etc..)

    One can also say, that constant line juggling like we saw most of last season seems to make no sense… the team had no real system that I could see because the lineups were always a game of musical chairs. This obviously affected shots on goal… defense in general… and Price and Halak directly.

    I believe, Martin will address this. The Habs will have a system. And lines will have more consistency in their pairings.

    Some people say (like many experts) that the new additions and lineup are a parallel at best. And if they are…. they are certaintly a younger more durable parallel.

    If the team has an average injury year… and a system… they’re gonna be fine. Maybe not #1 in the east. But I believe they are a playoff team… and will be better defensively.

    2 years in a row… the team that won the cup weren’t big bruisers….. they were great puck moving+possession teams.. that played responsibly on defense.

    And with so many UFAs not coming back… some of the young guys will now have the opportunity to develop playing full seasons in the bigtime…. they gotta make that move enventually too….

    It was time for change, because of a variety of reasons.

    My (very long) $0.02 worth….

  9. Thanks a lot for that, Yves. Well stated. I like the changes but when I read elsewhere, most don’t. But that’s fine. It wouldn’t matter what changes would be made, there would still be many who wouldn’t like them. The botton line is, the Habs needed BIG changes. They were going nowhere. Hopefully, like you say, the line-juggling will stop. And a great point about Pittsburgh not being a big bruising team and won it all. Thanks again for great points.

  10. One thing about habs fans…. no matter what move Gainey would have made…. someone would always voice their displeasure..

    Thanks for putting up with my long blurb..

    Love the blog.

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